Sunday, March 24, 2013

Change Of Plans (And A Rant Or Two)

The original schedule for today had the four of us (me and the kids, Himself still being out of town) leaving early in the morning for a soccer game of Thing One's in a town an hour away.  I wasn't especially looking forward to that after all the sports-related craziness of yesterday, except inasmuch as I hate Palm Sunday with a fiery passion and it was a perfect excuse for missing Mass today.

Unfortunately, we got a note on Friday explaining that today's game was cancelled because the field isn't open yet.  So, while happy about being spared the 120-mile round trip drive in a deer-dented car (mechanic appointment next week), I felt morally obligated to go to church instead.  Catholic guilt in action.

For any non-Christians among you, Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter.  This service is interminable, to begin with, and it is one of the services at which the story of Jesus's death is told in gory detail.  Having once been traumatized by an elaborate outdoor Stations of the Cross setup as a child (even now I can't imagine why elementary-school students would have been subjected to that!), I hate hearing the story to this day.  I know what happened; it does not need repeating multiple times a year.  So I spent the entire Gospel-reading period this morning making crosses from palm fronds instead.  A useful (?) skill acquired in childhood and never forgotten, and still a somewhat socially acceptable form of tuning out!

One other gripe about the palm fronds: each person in the church is given one upon entering, and they are blessed during the service.  But once blessed, they can't be thrown out!  (At least not without incurring some kind of divine wrath.)  They are collected the following year and burned to make the ashes used on Ash Wednesday.

At any rate, by the time we left we had somehow accumulated eight palm fronds.  Bear in mind that these things are a good two feet long and 3/4" across, other than the four I origami-ed into crosses.  Since I can't burn them or throw them away without getting on the wrong side of whatever the Catholic version of juju might be, and since I also have no intention of displaying eight of them in my house, I will quietly leave them in the back of the church sometime next week and be done with it.  The crowning irony is that the priest gave Thing One his own palm frond (one of the eight), presumably as a thank-you for helping with the service, but all I could think was that he didn't want to deal with the darned thing after Mass either.

And to add insult to injury, the C and E-ers were out in force today because this is one of the more major church services of the year.  Next week it will be hard to find a seat because they will all be there on Easter Sunday.  There are two schools of thought on this: A) that everyone should be welcomed to church whenever they show up, even the people who only come on Christmas and Easter (i.e., the "good-person" school of thought,) versus B) that regulars should have priority when it is crowded because they are actually there the other 50 weeks--or at least some reasonable subset of them--as well.

I was all live-and-let-live on this till I had kids.  Now I'm squarely in camp B for purely practical reasons.  Why should I have to get to church 45 min earlier than usual to get a seat (and then entertain the kids for 45 min!) because otherwise all of the seats will be taken before we get there by people who only show up twice a year?

Bah, humbug.  Just add this post to the list of all the other reasons why I'm going to hell...


  1. Would you consider sending one of the origami'd palm fronds to France? I missed mass yesterday. For no good reason, we were working in the garden. But I am sorry I did not get a palm this year. (Raised Catholic by fervent converts, but not allowed to play due to a bad lifestyle choice-- even if the end result means I am happier than I would ever have been had I remained true to the rules... I expect I will be spending a goodly while in Purgatory by the bye). :)

  2. Joan--if you give me your address, I will gladly send you a palm cross. :) And I am glad that you are happy even if you are not playing by all the rules!

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